There were 17 teams and 34 observers out in Hampden County territories for the count held on May 13-14. Thankfully, once again, the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases did not prevent we birders from doing our thing! The weather was quite good for birding. Friday evening temps were high 70s and winds were calm. Saturday brought us more of the same, starting off with comfortable temps in mid-60s rising to 84 by mid-day, with winds 2-6 mph from the south. Together the teams recorded 134 species, which was about average over the last ten years, and coincidentally, also average for the entire 60 years of May Counts.
As is typical, most of the common species were near their recent or long-term average, but some were noticeably high. In parentheses is the number for 2022, followed by the 10-year average. There were several species whose totals were highest ever in our count history, including Canada Goose (545-411), Red-shouldered Hawk (11-3), Barred Owl (9-4), Red-bellied Woodpecker (157-118), Pileated Woodpecker (26-16), Carolina Wren (60-30, the last 3 years numbers doubled those of previous years), Louisiana Waterthrush (30-13), and Pine Warbler (89-51). Other high, but not record breaking, counts were Downy Woodpecker (82-55), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (72-55), Eastern Phoebe (72-53), Great Crested Flycatcher (75-55), Rough-winged Swallow (92-55), Brown Creeper (21-10), Wood Thrush (197-144), and Ovenbird (265-144). We did not add any new species to the May Count this year, but Harvey and Craig Allen did get Horned Lark (4), which had not been recorded since 1999. They also came face-to-face with two Moose, which should be a first for the Count, if we kept records of mammals.
Low species counts this year were Solitary Sandpiper (5-19), Wood Pewee (1-21), Least Flycatcher (2-14), Veery (46-60), Swainson’s Thrush (2-19), Magnolia Warbler (3-26), Yellow-rumped Warbler (13-70), and Black-throated Green Warbler (20-43). Misses include Common Loon, Ruffed Grouse (recorded every year up until the 2012 and only once since then), Black-billed Cuckoo, Brown Thrasher (first miss on this species in Count history), Blackpoll Warbler (first miss since 1970), Wilson’s Warbler (which was recorded each year for the last 6 years), Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cape May and Bay-breasted Warblers.
Participants seemed to be in agreement that numbers were low, especially for migrants.
Thanks to all who spent many hours in the field, especially Steve Svec’s team, who again put in a tiring 20 hours of effort, and Dave McLain’s team who racked up 109 species for the day. Nice job everyone!
Click below to view or download complete count results.